30 million in iPads for LA School district

I am not a fan of this. But perhaps there is something that I do not understand about it.
Full Article

The district is paying $678 per device — higher than tablets available in stores — but the computers will be preloaded with educational software. The price does not include a wireless keyboard, which may be necessary for older students.

I am perhaps looking at the glass half full, but with the students being able to take the machines home, the possibility for them to be stolen or broken seems to be high, especially in the underpriviledged neighborhoods they are supposed to be serving.
I also can’t help but think, “Couldn’t they have bough at least 6 brand new text books(or perhaps have funded open source text books for every student? and then bought something more economical and flexible such as kiosks and monitors for a 3rd of the price)?.
Even if you are going to go with tablets, is there not a more economical way to go that will prevent lock in?
How many adults have dropped their ipads and made them inoperable, and we are talking about children here… if they break, or lose the 3 free replacements (we are talking about kids) then are they then unable to participate? You can share books, but can you realistically share an ipad?
I understand that the world is moving towards something more electronic, but with the money crunch that education is always in, wouldn’t something more durable, and affordable be in order? Is there not a better way to reduce the technology gap in these children’s lives (a more technolgy based curriculum such as programming and development)? Books are not sexy anymore, but the reality is that they don’t require electricity or apps.

A donation from Dr. Dre to USC brings up some questions

A donation to the University of Southern California has drawn the ire of one Big Black Scholar:

http://www.yourblackworld.net/2013/05/black-news/dillard-president-asks-dr-dre-why-he-gave-35-million-to-usc-and-not-a-black-college/

basically Dre, is giving $35 Million to USC for the creation of a new degree program, whereas he could have put thousands of blacks through an HBCU with the same amount. It begs the question why did he chose USC instead of and HBCU?
I have yet to see a response, but I have never seen any indication from Mr. Young that he has an interest in the plight of his people unless its being exploited for financial gain. See Eminem, a repackaging of black culture being sold to white people, and also to a lesser, though also equally annoying extent, Snoop.
In the comments from this article you have many mixed emotions and thoughts about what he’s done, but in the end, I just see him as either being rich and highly ignorant or an ambivalent and uninformed former Nigga With Attitude, who has long since put all that “Nigga” business behind him.

Baby Boomers & Graduate School Student Loan Debt

The following link is for a recent article from the Houston Chronicle regarding student loan debt. According to the author of the article, student loan debt is having an increasing affect on adults from the Baby Boomer Generation who have returned to higher education within the last 20 years for advanced degrees. Stories and statistics show that these students have not had a good return on their investment, and unlike the younger generations of college students and college grads, they will not have a “lifetime” to pay back their debt. See the article below for more information and details:

http://chronicle.com/article/I-Fully-Expect-to-Die-With/138507/

http://public.tableausoftware.com/shared/FRG8YQTX7?:display_count=yes

In fact, student-loan debt is growing fastest among adults ages 60 and older, with more than two million people in that age group now owing an average of $19,000, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. Their default rates are rising, too, and increasing numbers of retirees are seeing their Social Security checks garnished because they fell behind on student-loan payments.

The Article “I Fully Expect to Die with this Debt” was posted in the Chronicle of Higher Education Online on April 15, 2013

Bad Grammar

Thoughts on hiring those with poor grammar
“Everyone who applies for a position at either of my companies, iFixit or Dozuki, takes a mandatory grammar test. Extenuating circumstances aside (dyslexia, English language learners, etc.), if job hopefuls can’t distinguish between “to” and “too,” their applications go into the bin.”
Kyle Wiens of iFixit.com
I am not surprised by this at all, but its a bit of a diss, just because you have poor grammar doesn’t mean you are not intelligent, but it surely sounds that way. And we all know it, though we may not realize that when it comes do doing business there is a vernacular to every kind and you have to be fluent or at least familiar with it. Without that fluency, you might not even make it to the door… as if you needed another barrier towards gainful employment.

President Obama’s State of the Union Address

If you missed it, check the link below:

State of the Union Address: 2013 President Obama

5 Retirement Tips!

In the last 6 months I have taken an active interest in my retirement portfolio and savings. Although I am still in my 20’s, I am finally in a stable position with employment and I have been in my career field for 5 years now. I have spoken with several people and asked questions regarding retirement plans, savings plans, and other important investment information for my future. Additionally, I have started to research online and looked at several books. One intriguing short article I read in the Money Section of Black Enterprise Magazine recently peaked my interest and gave me some important information. Below is a summation of the article:

 

Don’t Run out of money in retirement: 5 tips to make sure you don’t fall short and outlive your savings…

Many baby boomers are beginning to enter their retirement years, and are falling short of their financial needs. In an article in the “Money” section of Black Enterprise Magazine, Carolyn Brown discusses 5 tips that can help baby boomers or those of younger generations to make smart decisions regarding their retirement, that will pay off in the end.

 

According to the Employee Benefit Research Institute, “early baby boomers, (people 58-64) have a 44% chance of not having enough money to pay basic retirement costs and uninsured medical expenses. “Late boomers (ages 48-57), and Generation X workers (38-47), have about a 45% chance of running short, the study concluded.”

 

The following 5 tips come from Clyde Anderson, who is a financial lifestyle coach:

 

  1. Determine your needs. The rule of thumb is that you’ll need about 70% to 80% of your pre-retirement income to live on during retirement, according to your lifestyle. To get a snapshot of what this looks like, analyze your spending. Look at your bank account statements monthly, or try using programs such as mint.com looking closely at various categories of spending including: entertainment, food, travel, etc.
  2. Do the math. Examine the three areas critical for determining how much money you will need to retire: A. Your current age (when do you plan to retire) . B. Your goals, C. Your projected life expectancy. (Most benefit specialists and companies use 90 as a standard age- how long will you live in retirement (20-30 years).
  3. Don’t set it and forget it. If you begin to make a plan, make it realistic enough to follow and continue to track your progress.
  4. Rebalance. You can take one of the two general approaches which is to rebalance on  a regular time schedule such as quarterly, semi-annually, or annually, or rebalance when the  allocation is a certain percentage points away from its target due to the difference between funds in your 401k over time.
  5. Read your statements. “Not looking at your statement is like throwing away money.” – says Anderson. Take the time to learn and understand what your statements are telling you especially in terms of the expense ratio and fees for each mutual fund in your account. “Did you know that just 1% in fees and expenses reduces your account balance at retirement by 28%, eating away your returns?”

Loan Repayment: Obama vs. Romney

http://www.barackobama.com/education-calculator

I ran across this page on barackobama.com and found it very interesting. Though I cannot say that it is totally true, I have read quite a bit on the student loan repayment programs under the Obama Administration. I also know several people who are currently utilizing these resources and are having good experiences (well as good as you can owing and paying off debt). I also know that Romney’s future plans (if he is elected) involve cuts in many areas and this would be one…so while I am not sure how extreme the differences would be if we did not continue the Direct Loan system and payback program options ( or begin the new ones scheduled for (2013-2014) I do know that there would be some differences that I am sure would yield some negative consequences on those like myself who are looking forward to using one of the current or new programs, and those who are already utilizing them! Feel free to leave your thoughts on this!

 

The Declining Black Middle Class

The following are excerpts from The American Prospect on the shrinking of the Black Middle Class:

Two recent reports have highlighted the crippling effects of the subprime mortgage crisis on black families. The first, a Pew study on income and wealth inequality from one generation to the next, showed that only children of the top two quintiles of the wealth distribution—an overwhelmingly white group—had greater wealth than their parents. Half of black children raised in the bottom quintiles stayed there, and blacks on the whole were more likely to be downwardly mobile.”

“A report from The Washington Post, meanwhile, examines the lasting impact on black families’ economic prospects that could stem from their poor credit ratings, which dropped sharply during the recession. With black families more likely to have taken out subprime loans and to have borne the burden of unemployment, their credit scores have suffered, and the black middle class is shrinking as a result.”

So it seems that this recession is having a grave effect on Black America and the Black Middle Class in particular. Sound surprisng? Not to me…not at all. At every turn the GOP/Conservative political agenda has been in my opinion to destroy the middle class in general and widen the gap between the rich and the poor. The issue that this has on Blacks stems from the deeply historical system of racial inequity that always seems to have a greater negative impact on Black people than any other race. This is just another example, and another reason to urge Black Americans to pay close attention to the fine print regarding subprime loans, student loans, and any other sources of potential debt. We are losing the little that we have in the way of homes, property, and other assets, and without the proper understanding of what this means for our future generations, we will continue to suffer and set our children up to start off in bad position with little hope of climbing out and moving forward.

College Majors with the highest starting salaries

 

From theworkbuzz.com

College majors with the highest starting salaries

 
 

College students pick their major for any number of reasons — interest in a particular field of study, ability to get a job post-graduation, amount of education or training needed and more. Another factor students often consider is how much they might earn once they enter the workforce. While it’s hard to imagine that any student would actively seek a low-paying major, some students may weigh salary more heavily than others when deciding on a degree.

According to the most recent salary survey by the National Association of Colleges and Employers, the average starting salary for a Class of 2012 graduate is $44,442. To break it down further, here’s a list of the highest-paying bachelor’s degrees within common academic disciplines. Also included is the percent change in starting salaries from the Class of 2011 to the Class of 2012, along with examples of occupations that graduates within each major might pursue.

Business*
Highest-paying academic major: Economics (business/managerial)
Median starting salary: $54,800
Percent increase from 2011: 5.6
Example occupations: Financial manager, accountant/auditor, management analyst

Communications
Highest-paying academic major: Advertising
Median starting salary: $44,700
Percent increase from 2011: 2.5
Example occupations: Author, public-relations specialist, advertising or promotions manager

Computer sciences
Highest-paying academic major: Computer science
Median starting salary: $58,300
Percent increase from 2011: 4.3
Example occupations: Postsecondary teacher, computer programmer, computer support specialist

Education
Highest-paying academic major: Special education
Median starting salary: $42,200
Percent increase from 2011: 2.2
Example occupations: Special education teacher, elementary or middle-school teacher

Engineering
Highest-paying academic major: Computer engineering
Median starting salary: $67,800
Percent increase from 2011: 0.6
Example occupation: Computer software engineer

Health sciences
Highest-paying academic major: Nursing
Median starting salary: $48,400
Percent increase from 2011: 0.6
Example occupation: Registered nurse

Humanities and social sciences
Highest-paying academic major: Political science/government
Median starting salary: $38,400
Percent increase from 2011: 1.3
Example occupations: Social worker, paralegal or legal assistant, labor-relations specialist

Sciences
Highest-paying academic major: Construction science/management
Median starting salary: $54,700
Percent increase from 2011: 1.9
Example occupations: Construction manager, civil engineer

*All data/information from the NACE April 2012 Salary Survey. Only certain starting salaries were available at the time the survey was conducted, so not all majors were factored into the starting salary comparisons.

I ran across this article that had some surprsining

 information regarding college majors and starting

salaries. I would have never guessed that both

communications and education would be on the

list…as someone who has a degree in both of these

areas, it is good to see them represented!

Some Economic Thought

Bruce Bartlett on Where the Right Went Wrong from BillMoyers.com on Vimeo.

Former Reagan economist Bruce Bartlett has some sharp thoughts on why the American economic and social situation is in the state its in. The things he has to say you might find surprising.